Most anywhere there are people, wild animals are born into a world that isn’t the one evolution prepared them for. The breakneck expansion of the human-built world has re-made huge swaths of what was formerly wild land over the last 200 years.
Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center (BAX/HWCC) admits for care those wild animals who are found injured in the conflict. A barn swallow that had been swatted by a roaming house cat in Rio Dell, a young river otter from Crescent City whose mother had been hit by a car, or an osprey with tail and flight feathers singed bare when her nest caught fire on an electric pole north of Weaverville—each of these are recent cases.
The nestling western screech-owl featured on this month’s BAX/HWCC donation jar fell from its nest in Rohner Park, Fortuna. Up and away from the heavily used open area of Rohner Park is a forested low ridge of old redwoods that makes an attractive fragment of habitat. This isn’t the first time we’ve raised a young screech-owl found in that park.
A fall to the ground leaves a youngster stranded in a strange world with only one outcome: death. The only chance this fallen owl had was to be found by someone who knew what to do, and called the HWCC.
Thin and dehydrated upon admission, the owl quickly accepted the offered bits of mouse we fed, gaining weight daily. New feathers are growing in. If an attempt to return the youngster to its parents fails, he/she will learn to hunt at the HWCC before release.